A joint practice between the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans began with bikes. It ended in a near-brawl.
Houston rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. was ejected from Monday’s session after some big hits drew fury from the assembled Packers. Johnson would later be thrown out of practice by Texans head coach Bill O’Brien.
According to reports from ESPN’s Rob Demovsky and Sarah Barshop, Johnson laid down a big hit on fellow rookie and Packers tight end Jace Sternberger. The hit knocked Sternberger’s helmet off and Johnson reportedly flexed over him. It brought both teams on the field in a confrontational manner.
Video of the hit itself has not been available, but the aftermath was captured by Dov Kleiman.
Sternberger was evaluated for a concussion but was cleared to return to practice. Receiver/returner Trevor Davis wasn’t so lucky. Another Johnson hit forced him out of practice for the rest of the afternoon. At that point, Johnson was removed from practice.
“”It was a play that developed over there, and it was time for Lonnie to head to the showers,” O’Brien said in the ESPN report. He would also remark that Johnson’s actions were “not a big deal”.
Packers receivers did not concur.
“You’ve got plenty of time for that. You can do it in the games and you get fined. Be a coward when you do stuff like that in practice, it’s not a good look,” receiver Davante Adams said to ESPN. “We take care of each other up here. I don’t know how they practice, I don’t know what they do over there, but there’s consequences for stuff like that.”
“That’s absolutely ridiculous. And we’re not going to stand for that here, obviously,” tight end Jimmy Graham added. “I know his older guys over there are going to be on him about it because my young guy’s just running through a zone, obviously. Just run by him. We know you’re going to blow him up in a game.”
Johnson, the Texans’ second -round pick out of Kentucky, responded to a report of his hit on Sternberger. He said he didn’t want to hurt anyone, but didn’t apologize for the incident.
The Texans and Packers are slated to partake in one more joint practice before an exhibition game on Thursday night.